One of the indicators that Las Vegas is growing once again are the emails I get from outdoor enthusiasts who have recently moved to Southern Nevada from climates just a little less arid than ours.
Oftentimes they are looking for destinations within a short drive of Las Vegas where they can find outdoor adventures like those they enjoyed in their previous place of residence. Most of them understand that Nevada isn’t home to whitetail deer, bobwhite quail or tiger muskies, but they are generally willing to learn how and where to hunt mule deer, elk and pronghorn or how to catch striped bass.
All they need is a little help from an outdoor friend to get them started.
That is the situation in which Ken Johnson found himself after moving to Las Vegas from Texas in 1991. There he had been actively involved in the hunting and fishing world but missed the association of his hunting companions and walking his favorite haunts. Like many who move to Nevada, Johnson was in unknown territory.
“I didn’t know where to go or who to ask,” said Johnson. “That’s why I started the club in the first place.”
He was speaking of the Las Vegas Woods and Waters Club, an organization whose creation he fostered as the means of helping people like himself find and enjoy the association of fellow sportsmen and women. Johnson patterned it after the Austin Woods and Waters Club in which he was active before moving west. The Las Vegas club’s mantra is “All we want to do is hunt, fish and talk about it.”
“Our meetings, events and banquet are open to any like-minded sportsmen and family members who want to attend,” said Mike Reese, who is now serving his third term as president of the Las Vegas club.
The club generally hosts one shooting or fishing event each month, and members plan and take outdoor trips somewhere together on a regular basis. Then they get together, and you guessed it, talk about it. There is a lunch meeting on the second Wednesday of each month, where members and guests both share and hear reports on hunting, fishing, shooting and other outdoor opportunities.
What better place to meet other people with similar outdoor interests and learn about the variety of outdoor pursuits available to those who live in Southern Nevada?
In addition to monthly meetings, the club hosts an annual fundraising banquet, where attendees can participate in raffles as well as silent and live auctions. More than 300 people attended the 2020 banquet, which was held Saturday at the Gold Coast Hotel Casino.
This year, attendees could bid on such things as a pair of opening night tickets to the National Finals Rodeo, a multiday horseback fishing trip in the Ruby Mountains near Elko, a hunting trip to the Dunton Ranch in Arizona and a Heritage turkey tag for Nevada. The turkey tag sold for an amazing $3,200, which will help fund conservation projects in Nevada.
Kids who attended the event went home with prizes that included a .22-caliber rifle, a shotgun, binoculars and Daisy Red Ryder air rifles. Part of the proceeds from the event are used to fund outdoor activities for the youth.
You can find more information about the Las Vegas Woods and Waters Club at lvwoodsnadwaters.org. Dues are $25 a year.
Scouting for Fish
If you want to get a good look at the underwater structure of your favorite bass haunts, now is the time to do so at Lake Mead. The water is ultra-clear. When there is little wind, you can see clearly to depths of 20 feet or so, depending on your location.
On Friday afternoon, I dusted off the kayak and paddled a stretch of shoreline in the Boulder Basin. While my fishing efforts came up empty, the outing gave me the chance to examine the points, rock fields, weed beds and other structure. While the situation will change as water levels rise and fall, this is a good opportunity to look for possible spawning areas or that hole where you might find a plump bass this spring.
Freelance writer Doug Nielsen is a conservation educator for the Nevada Department of Wildlife. His “In the Outdoors” column, published Thursday, is not affiliated with or endorsed by the NDOW. Any opinions he states in his column are his own. Find him on Facebook at @dougwritesoutdoors. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org